Ever look back on the past and ask yourself WTF was I thinking?
To say I’m going through that now, is an understatement. Looking back at my early career, I can’t help but wonder why I was such an a-hole. Any new fitness professional I’m sure has gone through the same introspection.
However, I can’t get down on myself too much because sometimes, reflecting on the past can be the impetus to growth.
Needless to say, evolution is real. Whether this is on a personal or cultural or global level.
I mean look how far the world has come: we’ve gone from working out with shake weights to suspending ourselves in TRX systems, taking care of pet tamagotchis to hunting Pokemon, playing capture the flag with our neighbors to playing World of Warcraft with virtual strangers, dressing Barbie dolls to dressing Bitmojis, and taking polaroids to sending Snapchats.
I’m awesome at the throwbacks, I know.
Also, on a side note: I was stellar at parenting tamagotchis.
In lieu of taking a trip down memory lane, I’ve compiled a list of shit I used to say when I was a newbie fitness professional.
Truthfully, I enjoyed this blast from the past and I hope you do too.
1.) “Functional training is the best.”
When I was starting out, functional training was at its peak. So I hopped on the bandwagon without taking into account my clients’ specific goals. A bodybuilder, for example, does not need to be doing farmer’s carries with a bottoms up kettlebell attached to an explosive. I admit I did train everyone with unilateral and compound exercise programming.
Now today, I recognize functional training is only best for a specific population, namely, athletes. However, the world won’t go up in flames if an athlete does tricep extensions.
2.) “Brace your core.”
Let’s be honest: no client knows what the fuck this means. Put yourself in their shoes. Maybe they’ve never worked out before, or stepped foot in the gym for the first time, and you’re barking at them to “brace their core.”
Instead of tossing out this useless coaching cue, I realized it was best to have clients perform exercises that organically made them brace their core and focus on maintaining tension. This way, they could feel it instead of hear it.
3.) “Squat tip: sit your butt back.”
God damnit…another useless coaching cue. I sure sucked.
While I may have had good intentions with this cue, it proved counterproductive. Instead of grooving into a squat, my clients were going into more of a hip hinge and dead lift position.
Nowadays, I opt for cues like “sit the butt down” or “drop down” or “sit on the toilet seat.” If verbal cues don’t work, I’ll have them sit down on a box or soccer ball to feel the movement.
4.) “Squat ass to grass.”
Any newbie is guilty of this cue, especially because pristine textbook squat form is engrained in our psyches.
Alas, it took me a while to realize biomechanics existed with humans in real life. To that end, not everyone’s body type will allow them to squat below their knees or ass to grass, and that is okay. More often than not, people are limited by hip mobility, long torsos, long legs, or weak cores. Sure, a deep squat can be worked up to with proper progressions, but don’t expect everyone to look like an Instagram model upon first session.
5.) “The Media is evil.”
I have no room to talk. I’m a fitness and soccer blogger. I am the media, bitches.
6.) “Bodybuilders suck.”
When I was stuck in my functional training ways, I bashed bodybuilding and anyone who ate 8 meals a day and did bicep curls.
Now I don’t give a damn what people do. Certainly, I commend anyone who can maintain a lifestyle like that and work that hard to shape their physiques. It’s an applaudable form of dedication. And if this is what invigorates people, then I have no room to give my ignorant opinion.
7.) “Don’t do isolation exercises.”
Piggy backing off “bodybuilders suck,” I used to demonize isolation exercises like bicep curls, tricep push downs, hammer curls, etc.
But if it’s someone’s goal to put on size or look good naked, then the science backs this form of training. I mean come on: what type of woman would I be to tell men to not do their bicep curls? ;-O
8.) “Don’t do cardio.”
I believe strength training has its benefits, but that doesn’t mean cardio should be demonized.
This reminds me of an excellent post from coach Jay Ashman Oh, So You Think Cardio Is Stupid? Well, You Are Stupid.
There is research cardio burns fat. There is research cardio speeds up the recovery process. There is research (and common sense) cardio helps with heart health.
And if you’re weird like me, you feel alive when your lungs are burning after a sled conditioning circuit.
9.) “Good job.”
I was too nice back in the day. Now, I rarely say “good job.” People don’t want a cheerleader. They want a trainer who will get them results. End of story.
10.) “Ladder drills are bad for you.”
LOLOLOL. This is funny coming from someone who uses speed ladders all the time now.
They’re excellent for training coordination, mechanics, athletic stance position, and contralateral movement patterns. However, speed ladders are not good for improving force production, increasing maximal speed, or acceleration power. So use them wisely.
There you have it.
Hopefully, newbies and veterans can learn from my past quotes. It was comical for me to look back and to see how far I’ve come, and I urge you to do the same.